March 5, 2012 at 10:54 AM ET
Thirty years ago, on March 5, 1982, comic John Belushi was found dead in the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. His death would spark months of tabloid headlines and introduce many to the word "speedball," meaning a combination of cocaine and heroin. Catherine Evelyn Smith, the woman who was with him that night and injected the drugs that led to his death, would serve prison time for involuntary manslaughter.
In later years, Chris Farley would be compared to the comic, and Farley's 1997 death also came far too early. And there will always be actors, especially comedians, who push things so far both onstage and in their lives that they become famous verging on infamous for life on the edge. But few can outshine Belushi's legacy as the hard-partying comedian whose light burned bright and fast and then was snuffed out.
First-ever 'SNL' skit
Fittingly, Belushi starred in the very first sketch ever shown on "Saturday Night Live" when the show debuted in 1975, playing a student learning English who copies not just his language teacher's words, but mimics his heart attack as well. He'd go on to play the famed Samurai, the "cheeseburger, cheeseburger!" cook, a Conehead, Widette, Joe Cocker and more, but here's where it all began.
'Animal House' zit scene
One of Belushi's best-known roles was that of Bluto in 1978's "Animal House." Bluto held nothing back, had a GPA of 0.0, and would eventually become a U.S. Senator. He stole the film whenever he was on screen, but the pure gross-out value of the "I'm a zit!" scene is unforgettable.
'Blues Brothers' performing 'Soul Man'
Sure, there's Bluto in a mustard-smeared toga, or the Samurai raising his katana, but the most iconic image of Belushi may be of him wearing sunglasses and a dark suit, arm slung over the shoulder of co-star Dan Aykroyd, in "The Blues Brothers." Whether you prefer the film or the many songs the duo performed as Jake and Elwood, the whole concept is a classic. Here they are performing "Soul Man" on "SNL."
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